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Wednesday, 19 April 1972
Page: 1214

Senator POYSER (VICTORIA) - My question is directed to the Attorney-General. Further to the question asked by Senator Brown, I ask the Attorney-General whether he has read the statement attributed to Judge Hewitt which states in part:

It seems evidence shows the appellant is a conscientious individual doing good work in the community,. But he has gone into this with his eyes wide open - maybe he took the wrong advice. The Attorney-General may release him at any stage. The Commonwealth can do as it likes.

Will the Attorney-General examine the transcript of this case and give very sympathetic consideration to what appears to be a very broad hint that this man should not be incarcerated because of his actions and beliefs?

Senator GREENWOOD - I have already given the assurance that I will examine the transcript of this case. I have noted the judge's remarks and I note particularly his use of the word 'conscientious'. It is well known that there is a provision in the

National Service Act whereby people who have a conscientious objection to any form of military service merely have to make an application and that application will be determined. Experience indicates that approximately 85 to 90 per cent of all applications that are made are successful.

Mr McLellandhas chosen not to make any such application and as the judge said he has entered into this course with his eyes open. The Attorney-General has no power to interfere with the processes of law and to release a person who has been given a gaol sentence, and to that extent I am sure that the record of what the Judge said is not wholly accurate - at least that would would be my belief, knowing the judge. In the circumstances 1 can only repeat that 1 will examine the transcript. But on the material which is currently available to me, there is no action which I cun take.

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